I have written about this earlier but from a different point of view and different motivation:
Brands and Photo bloggers
Relevance : Brands, Events, Social Media
Investment : Brands, Events, Social Media
Needs : Brands, Events, Social Media
Branding : Brands, Events, Social Media

First let me define what I do.

I am a professional photographer [ which means clients hire me – pay me money – to make images for them, of them, of their children, of their factories, of their events, of their food, etc. ] I am also a blogger [ which means I blog about the clients I have photographed – I have a fairly popular blog and I also get paid for blogging ]. I also work on brand naming and logo design engagements [ after my B-School education, and one year of working as an Innovation Consultant, I started off on my own as a graphic designer and over the course of a decade ended up specializing in brand design ].

Here’s a short stroyline of two interactions I recently had with PR and Brand managers.

Story One

Them: ‘Hello Naina, we saw your work, we saw this particular event you had covered earlier and we loved the photos you have taken. There is this event that is happening where so-and-so important people are attending as guests. Are you free on so-and-so date?’

Me: ‘Thank you for the compliment, yes I am free on that date.’

Them: ‘Oh great. So you can come and shoot for us – lots of great photo opportunities, it will look fantastic in your portfolio.’

Me: ‘Sure, sounds like a colorful and important event, how much are you paying?’

Them: ‘Oh. We don’t pay. We do PR for the client so you will be going through us. So we are doing PR for the client and so we don’t pay.’

Me: ‘So I am supposed to do your work for you for free, for which the client is paying you but you will not pay me?’

Them: ‘But we get paid for PR, not photography.’

Me: ‘But you will be using this photography to show to your client that you have done PR?’

Them: ‘Oh it’s ok. Just think about it and let me know if you’d like to cover the event.’

Me: ‘I don’t want to think about it and I’m sorry but unless I am paid for my work, I will not be able to cover your event.’

Them: ‘Ok, so how much do you think you will charge for covering this?’

Me: ‘X amount.’

Them: ‘And how many blog posts will I get?’

[ At this point I just want to stab and punch something. ] Me: ‘You get one blog post, which will be also linked to from my Twitter profile and there will be a Facebook album as well.’

Them: ‘Ok, I will talk to my boss and let you know although I can tell you now that it won’t work out.’

Me: ‘Yes, I know.’

————————————————— End of conversation —————————————————

Story Two

Them: ‘Hello Naina, we saw your work, we saw this particular event you had covered earlier and we loved the photos you have taken. There is this event that is happening where so-and-so important people are attending as guests. Are you free on so-and-so date?’

Me: ‘Thank you for the compliment, yes I am free on that date.’

Them: ‘Well we know we probably will not be able to afford you but we loved your work so much that we thought we should at least find out. How much would you charge?’

Me: ‘X amount.’

Them: ‘Oh wow. Ok, let me speak to my CFO and I will get back to you.’
[ This usually means that it is not going to work out. ]

Me: ‘Ok sure, thanks!’

[ After two days. ] Them: ‘So it won’t work out but we would love if you could come to our event anyway!’

Me: ‘Oh that’s nice of you, I would love to.’
[ If it’s a brand that interests me and I would further like to build a relationship with them and this is the first time they are getting in touch with me. ] [ I go to the event, with my camera, take some pictures, come back, edit and do a blog story. ]

Them: ‘Thank you so much for the blog story! We love the photos! All the C-Level people are so happy!’

Me: ‘My pleasure, thank you for having me there!’

Them: ‘We were wondering, can we give your photos to our PR so they can use them in press releases? We will give you credit and link back to your website.’
[ I go to the mirror and check my forehead to see if it says “chutiya” there. Can’t find it. ]

Me: ‘Oh sure, I’m open to paid licensing.

Them: ‘Oh ok, we will get back to you.’
[ Which is code for, “Ain’t gonna happen!” ]

————————————————— End of conversation —————————————————

I have SO MANY more to tell. Next time I receive a call or email, I am going to promptly blog it and will post more as and when I can recall from memory. The industry is changing and not all interactions are similar to the above. What appalls me is that these are usually young people who can take up the mantle for bringing in change to the industry and yet they prefer to stay in the rut and stick to the old and disparaging ways of doing things. The PR industry could use some professionalism and young blood.

3 comments

  1. hahahaha………seriously…..how you control yourself after such incidents…….”the lines of seeing your forehead in mirror……..” that line said it all……..all the best…may god give you strength.

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